Trails for All Abilities: Short Easy Hikes and Wheelchair Accessible Paths around Crescent City and Del Norte County, California

1. Tolowa Dunes State Park Kellogg Loop Trail in Crescent City

Trail Distance: 5.3 mile loop

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Elevation Gain: 180 ft

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Tolowa+Dunes+State+Park/@41.870055,-124.2036245,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xa01c6f72c5b493d7!8m2!3d41.870055!4d-124.2036245 

Amble through a peaceful forest and Pacific coastal dunes. This easy trail gives you a variety of landscapes plus bird watching and fungi spotting. Keep the exploring and “awe-ing” going with 20 more miles of trails and 11 miles of shoreline throughout the California state park.

2. Enderts Beach Overlook in Crescent City

Trail Distance: 1 mile out and back

Wheelchair Accessible: Not on the trail itself down to the beach, but the Crescent Beach Overlook can be accessed by wheelchair users.

Elevation Gain: 200 ft

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/dir//41.7056686,-124.1427297/@41.7054864,-124.1569843,14z/data=!4m2!4m1!3e0?hl=en 

Gaze over jagged ocean cliffs without much climbing. You’ll stroll through a mini forest before a short descent to Enderts Beach. Make sure you have sturdy shoes to admire the enchanting tidepools. From the parking lot, you also have another short wheelchair-friendly trail option to Crescent Beach Overlook with a stunning view of the Pacific from a wooden platform.

3. Drive Howland Hill Road through Jedediah Smith State Park

Trail Distance: 6 miles one way

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Elevation Gain: 650 ft

Google location: https://visitdelnortecounty.com/attractions/howland-hill-road-and-stout-grove/ 

For the crowning glory of scenic drives, cruise down the single lane Howland Hill Road through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. This road actually predates the park, built as a stagecoach route in the 1880s. Get up close and personal with giant redwood trees  as you wind around lush greenery under a lush green canopy. There are several trails along the way if you need some air. Note trailers and RVs are not advised down this thin slice of paradise.

4. Trees of Mystery in Klamath

Trail Distance: varies from .5 to 1 mile

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft (by gondola ride!)

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Trees+of+Mystery/@41.584849,-124.086106,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xa9c95d56460e95d6?sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj8g833iMH2AhUPonIEHWFMDNIQ_BJ6BAg9EAU 

Everyone can drink up the ancient beauty of the redwoods at the Trees of Mystery. Choose any of their accessible trails that weave around interpretive signs and spectacular tree formations. Float through the thick forest canopy on the SkyTrail tram ride. This accommodating gondola transports all abilities to an observation deck revealing magnificent ocean vistas and sprawling wilderness.

5. Shoreline of South Beach in Crescent City

Trail Distance: Your choice!

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes – Get more info on beach wheelchair rental

Elevation Gain: none

Google location: 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/South+Beach/@41.7454752,-124.1957189,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x54d067cf27844111:0x978776e1863f1660!8m2!3d41.7454771!4d-124.1782093

Stroll, roll or just watch the sun sink past the Pacific Ocean. South Beach is a large sandy beach with jetties that shield the water from rough ocean waves. Check out the surfers and paddle boarders or have your own fun with some kite flying, bird watching or splashing in the gentle waves. Revel in the salt air with three miles of uninterrupted shoreline all the way to Crescent Beach.

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6. Simpson-Reed Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Trail Distance: .7 mile loop with additional .3 mile extension to Peterson Memorial Trail

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes 

Elevation Gain: none

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Simpson-Reed+Trail/@41.8125622,-124.1088977,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x7cae439f3caeec4d!8m2!3d41.8125622!4d-124.1088977 

Escape to a lush jungle with a low impact path that allows you to really nestle into nature. The Simpson-Reed Trail winds around the crystal waters of the Smith River and through redwood groves. Greenery covers everything in this ancient forest.

7. Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail in Redwood National Park

Trail Distance: 1.4 mile lollipop 

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Lady+Bird+Johnson+Grove+Trail/@41.3034239,-124.0181344,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x59726d119bb90c3a?sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi9l_nkr8P2AhXRZTUKHQreAzwQ_BJ6BAgkEAU 

Wander through a ferny wonderland. Lady Bird Johnson Grove was named for the former U.S. first lady who was a committed environmental activist. The unique higher elevation of this trail gives you broader views to appreciate the old growth. Visit in May and early June for bursts of rhododendron color.

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8. Big Tree Wayside in Prairie Creek Redwoods  State Park

Trail Distance: 200 yards

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Elevation Gain: none

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Big+Tree+Wayside/@41.3736035,-124.0135907,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xa4af620f23aaf4a4!8m2!3d41.3736035!4d-124.0135907 

A short jaunt down a paved path reveals a forest of ancient giants. Prominently featured is the “Big Tree,” a 1,500-year-old resident that towers 350 feet above you. Let your curiosity lead you around a few other quick trails to take in more of the redwoods.

Wander through a ferny wonderland. Lady Bird Johnson Grove was named for the former U.S. first lady who was a committed environmental activist. The unique higher elevation of this trail gives you broader views to appreciate the old growth. Visit in May and early June for bursts of rhododendron color.

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9. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park Day Use Area

Trail Distance: .5 to 1 mile

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Elevation Gain: 100 feet

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Jedediah+Smith+Campground/@41.7958944,-124.0862809,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xd6eef01f7f3e0455?sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwivhYbywsP2AhURoXIEHQe6ATwQ_BJ6BAgsEAU 

Plan to play all day at this day use area. Listen to the rushing wild and scenic Smith River as you picnic under giant redwoods. There are plenty of accessible tables and grills. Amble along the soft dirt of Nature Loop or Beach River Trails and enjoy a rest on the sandy shore. 

10. Darlingtonia Trail

Trail Distance: .3 mile loop

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Elevation Gain: none

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Darlingtonia+Botanical+Trail/@41.850123,-123.9163104,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x54d01431a71e6c7b:0x9408b8f714952147!8m2!3d41.850119!4d-123.9075557 

Discover a delicately dangerous flower that grows from a murky bog. The California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica) is a rare carnivorous plant found only in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Study the plant closely and you may see an insect crawl in and never escape. Though not as lurid as the pitcher plant, there is plenty of other lush vegetation to admire along the way.

11. Myrtle Creek Trail (Located Between Hiouchi and Gasquet)

Trail Distance: 2 miles out-and-back

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Elevation Gain: 350 ft

Location:  https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/myrtle-creek-trail

Once a place for gold mining, other botanical-type treasures can still be found here. Meander around vibrant wildflowers along a burbling stream. This low impact trail also features interpretive signs detailing the history of the area, including mining, geologic, and cultural information.

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12. Patrick Creek Trail in Gasquet

Trail Distance: .25 one way

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Elevation Gain: none

Location: Once you past the town of Gasquet on Hwy 199 (towards Grants Pass), look for mile-post 22 and park in the Patrick Creek Picnic Area

Enjoy a stroll down a paved path between Patrick Creek Lodge and Patrick Creek Campground. Be sure to spend time on both ends of the trail. The historic Patrick Creek Lodge has a cozy bar and restaurant and a wonderful Sunday brunch. Meander around the campground, listening to the rushing confluence of Smith River’s middle fork and Patrick Creek. Admire the intricate stonework built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

13. Stony Creek Trail in Gasquet

Trail Distance: 1 mile out and back

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Elevation Gain: 50 feet

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Stony+Creek+Trail+Rd,+Gasquet,+CA+95543/@41.8555208,-123.9702333,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x54d01486f3d908df:0x257994ddedaab960!8m2!3d41.8555168!4d-123.9680446 

Go for a quick yet rewarding shady jaunt on Stony Creek Trail off the Gasquet Toll Road. Sniff out vibrant vegetation including azaleas, carnivorous Darlingtonias and wild berries. Savor the secluded rushing creek or take a short climb for a view of canyon cliffs above the north fork of the Smith River.

14. McClendon Ford Trail from Gasquet

Trail Distance: 3.1 mile out and back

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Elevation Gain: 580 feet

Google location: https://www.google.com/maps/place/McClendon+Ford+Trail/@41.6541006,-123.8639003,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x5e7c40f16f920bb1!8m2!3d41.6541006!4d-123.8639003 

Find peace along this quiet trail through old-growth groves with a thick carpet of fern covering the ground. Note you’ll start on the same path as South Kelsey Trail; keep left at the fork to remain on the McClendon Ford Trail. Take a break on the sandy beach and cool your feet in the emerald pool that marks the end of the trail.

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